Founded in 1805, Canton originally functioned as a prominent manufacturing center which expanded during the turn of the century due to industrialization and the addition of railroad lines. After the decline of heavy manufacturing, the city's industry diversified in the areas of:

  • Education
  • Finance
  • Healthcare sectors
  • Retail
  • Service

Becoming a City

While Canton was first founded in 1805, it was first incorporated as a village in 1822 and did not become a city until 1838. Bezaleel Wells, the surveyor who divided the land, named it after Canton, China. The name was a memorial to a trader named John O'Donnell, whom Wells admired.

Overhead of the City of Canton


The City of Canton is the county seat of Stark County. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohio and is situated on Nimishillen Creek, approximately 24 miles south of Akron and 60 miles south of Cleveland.


The current population of the city is estimated at 78,000 residents. In 2004, the United States Census moved Canton from 9th to 8th place among Ohio cities. According to the U.S. Census 2007 estimate, the Canton-Massillon, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area has a total population of 407,180 residents. View the City Statistics page for more information.

Canton Greats

Learn the history of our city through some of our most famous residents. Access the Canton Greats page to learn about our famous residents.